An impressive £20m has been awarded to Southampton to improve a multi-sport facility, it has been announced. 

The Outdoor Sports Centre in Thornhill Road is set to benefit from major upgrades and a new sports pitch.

It is hoped the cash injection will encourage residents to take up sport and exercise activities at the centre, which was built in the 1930s.

As previously reported, Southampton City Council bid for £55m of funding from central government.

Their plans included the transformation of the sports centre, as well as proposals to pedestrianise major roads in the city centre. 

READ MORE: Major roads could be pedestrianised in £80m city centre revamp

It is one of two projects in Hampshire to receive a share of the £186m total.

Further afield in Farnborough, a state-of-the-art leisure centre, library and cultural space in the town will also receive £20m to help tackle high levels of obesity, inactivity and poor mental health in the surrounding area.

Speaking on the news, Ross McNally, chief executive and executive chairman of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "We welcome the funding of £20 million apiece for these two facilities.

"This will support community growth, jobs, investment and public health in Southampton and Farnborough. At the same time, we hope the government will channel much more money towards levelling up in our region.

"To truly unlock Hampshire’s economic potential, we need to see further on-the-ground improvements to industrial and infrastructure investment."

Daily Echo: Ross McNally, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive and Executive ChairmanRoss McNally, Hampshire Chamber Chief Executive and Executive Chairman (Image: Hampshire Chamber of Commerce)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: "Through greater investment in local areas, we can grow the economy, create good jobs and spread opportunity everywhere.

"That’s why we are backing more than 100 projects with new transformational funding to level up local communities across the United Kingdom.

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"By reaching even more parts of the country than before, we will build a future of optimism and pride in people’s lives and the places they call home."

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: "We are firing the starting gun on more than a hundred transformational projects in every corner of the UK that will revitalise communities that have historically been overlooked but are bursting with potential."

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